Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Character Spotlight: Gordon Freeman

Half-Life's Dr. Gordon Freeman is this Week's Character Spotlight
Dr. Gordon Freeman is the main protagonist of the Half-Life series. He is a theoretical physicist who is forced to defend himself and the human race against hostile aliens and other enemies following an experiment gone wrong. In the process, he becomes an almost legendary resistance hero, eventually becoming one of the leaders of an uprising against the alien invaders.

REAL NAME: Gordon Freeman

OCCUPATION: Resistance Leader and Former Level 3 Research Associate at Black Mesa

BIRTHPLACE: Seattle, Washington

BASE OF OPERATIONS: Formally at the Black Mesa Facility but not "ON THE MOVE"




EDUCATION: Graduate of MIT, having earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and quantum mechanics and relativity.



At the time of the Black Mesa Incident, Gordon Freeman is 27 years old. He has no dependents and is a graduate of MIT, having earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. His thesis was titled Observation ofEinstein-Podolsky-RosenEntanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array (essentially about the teleportation of matter through extremely dense elements). A native of Seattle, Washington, Freeman harbors an early interest in theoretical physics, such as quantum mechanics and relativity. His earliest heroes are Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman. After observing a series of teleportation experiments conducted by the Institute for Experimental Physics in Innsbruck, Austria, applications of teleportation become Freeman's obsession.

Eventually, he becomes disappointed with the slow pace of teleportation research in academia and begins to search for a job outside the education sector. By coincidence, Freeman's MIT mentor Dr. Isaac Kleiner has taken charge of a research project at a government-owned, integrated research facility known as the Black Mesa Research Facility and offers Freeman a job. He accepts, hoping that at least part of the immense funding would go towards civilian applications of astrophysics and quantum computing.

At the start of the first game (Half-Life), Freeman has started working at the Black Mesa Research Facility, located somewhere in the New Mexico desert. There he owns a Level 3 Research Associate position. He is accommodated in the Level 3 Dormitories in the Black Mesa South Wing, alone in room 309.

He is assigned to the Anomalous Materials department doing nuclear, subatomic, and quantum research. Despite having obtained a Ph.D. from the prestigious MIT, the laboratory work that the player actually does as Freeman (pressing a button and pushing a cart) does not require any intellectual expertise at all. Barney Calhounpokes fun at this in the beginning portion of Half-Life 2, when Freeman performs similar "technical" assistance (pushing a switch and attaching a fallen plug back into a socket). Barney then goes on to joke that Gordon's MIT education "really pays for itself".


The HEV Suit, or Hazardous Environment suit, often called the "hazard suit" for sake of convenience, is a full-body hazardous materials suit developed at the Black Mesa Research Facility, designed for Black Mesa scientists to protect them from radiation, energy discharges, and blunt-force trauma during the handling of hazardous materials and to protect them from the effects of traveling to Xen as part of Survey Teams.

It is predominantly worn by Gordon Freeman during much of theHalf-Life series - first as the Mark IV suit in Half-Life, then as the upgraded Mark V suit in Half-Life 2. It allows him to sustain many injuries that would normally fatally wound him.

The HEV Suit is related to both the Powered Combat Vest (PCV) used by the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit (HECU), and the armored vest and helmet used by the Black Mesa Security Force.

Although quite proficient with weapons and explosives, Freeman had not actually handled any weapons until some cursory training at the Black Mesa Research Facility's Hazard Course (aside from the butane-powered tennis ball cannon he constructed at age 6).What separates Gordon Freeman from other games' heroes is that he is a scientist – a rather unlikely kind of hero when compared to more traditional video game characters such as Duke Nukem, or soldier types in many other games, such as the Doomguy or the Master Chief.


A silent protagonist, Gordon does not say a single word during the entire Half-Lifesaga. This is most likely an intentional choice, so that he is not regarded as a separate character outside of the player's influence. Since the start of Half-Life,Valve has made sure that the player's and Gordon's experience are one and the same. An example of Valve's player strategy is shown during the scene in Eli's lab. Investigation of certain props (most notably the newspaper board) triggers Eli to give some explanation to their meaning and history, thus indicating that Gordon presents emotions that the non-player characters can detect.The chapter Captive Freight from Blue Shift also shows an example of the character apparently speaking but being unheard by the player. When Rosenberg asks Barney how he knows his name, there is a slight pause, then Rosenberg confirms the name of the scientist who told it to Barney, as if he was answering him.


Alyx Vance

Relatively speaking, Alyx and Gordon have not actually known each other for a very long period. Alyx says to Gordon that he probably does not remember her, indicating he briefly met her (likely at Black Mesa) when she was an infant. But after going through such intense life and death combat situations and other hardships, they have forged a very strong relationship with each other. Alyx has shown affection to Gordon several times throughout the series: Twice giving a sad goodbye at an elevator, and hugging Gordon when Dog pulls him from the rubble.

Barney Calhoun

Barney and Gordon go way back, being old friends at Black Mesa. When Dr. Kleiner would lock himself out of his office, the two would race to be the first to get the door open, with Gordon usually making use of the ventilation ducts to get in. They also see each other once in Half-Life and Blue Shift, although they do not seem to notice each other, Barney's background having been retconned in Blue Shift and Half-Life 2. In the Combine-controlled world, Barney, undercover, saves Gordon from a terrible fate when Gordon nearly boards a train to Nova Prospekt. Gordon then joins Barney in assisting the Resistance. As of now, he still owes Gordon a beer

-Brian Lansangan
Follow me on Twitter @MrSnugglenutz84

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